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I was convinced from the moment I saw the Atari 800XL that the man selling me his former TI-99/4a owned that the Atari was something with a future ahead of it. As others have recognized, too, the Atari was "light years ahead." Today, everyone takes for granted that we have separate components in our computers-- a graphics card, a CPU, a chip for ethernet, and USB as well. But the Atari system had dedicated chips long before it came into vogue. And although the TI-99/4a was my first personal computer, the same guy sold me his 800XL because he'd bought a 130XE by that point. That was back around 1987-88, I believe, and he and I have been friends since that initial sale. BBSes hadn't quite hit it big, so our only source for information was old Compute!, Antic, and ANALOG magazines... and even those were hard to come by. But it was enough to stir the creativity and get us on the programming circuit, writing programs which fit our needs.
If anything, the onset of BBSes took a toll on our programming, because suddenly we had access to programs already written and far more versatile than we ourselves were yet capable of coming up with. And the 8bit magazine supplies had dried up by then, too. I ran a few BBSes myself, where I lived in the Lansing area. The Atari STs were making the scene by then, as well, but I refused to move to 16bit. My 800XL was enough. Until the clone PC and Windows 3.0 happened, and it was over and has been over down to this day. I eventually sold off my Atari hardware--although I had the foresight to retain all of the books I'd acquired up to then! Many of them are high-value today, but nope, they're staying put.
Then, with Windows 10 as well as the increasing infringements on privacy by companies and the government, I realized I missed the simplicity of my Atari days. That was about 4 months ago, and after watching prices on eBay for a couple months, I started building my Atari family, starting with 1200XLs since I'd never had the pleasure.
Plus, I had unfinished business. I'd only just started familiarizing myself with machine language programming in those days before I became a PC addict, and I made up my mind that *that* was where I'd begin this time. Plus, restoring the 1200XLs to their former appearance and function. My wife looks at me with that special uh-huh look, but I think I've helped her appreciate what I'm trying to do and why it's become SO important to me. In the process, I've also adopted a 130XE and a 256mb 800XL with s-Video, which I use for the grunt work when I'm not busy repairing 1200XLs, lol. I'm down to the last 4 of those, but two more are supposed to be arriving this week or next. After that, I will take a break from the "take my money please" phase. But I realized that some children were missing, and I found a very nice Atari 400 with the keyboard mod and 48k, and that just left the Atari 800 to search out.
And now you know, as Paul Harvey used to say, the REST of the story. ^_^